Report: Low wages, high rents keep families out of housing
Washington state doesn’t have enough affordable housing units, and people need to make roughly twice the minimum wage in order to rent here, according to a study released March 11.
There were only 27 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households in Washington, according to Out of Reach, a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
This figure puts Washington below the national average.
The report compares wages and rent costs in every county and metropolitan area in every state in the United States.
In each location, the NLIHC calculates the amount of money necessary for a household to afford a typical renter’s unit without paying more than 30 percent of their income — what is known as a fair market rent.
The minimum wage in Washington, $9.19 per hour, is less than half of what a renter needs to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
In Washington, a renter must earn an hourly wage of $18.58 in order to spend no more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing, based on housing available.
The state minimum wage hasn’t risen fast enough to keep up with housing costs, said Ben Miksch, a policy analyst at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
“What we do see is that it’s a difficult market to rent in, and it’s hard to find affordable housing,” Miksch said.
Around the nation, there are 10.1 million low-income renters and only 5.5 million homes available at affordable prices, according to the report.
In Washington state, these circumstances mean there are more families with children and students on the streets than ever before, Miksch said.
Builders and developers are supplying a steady stream of high-end housing, he said. “It would help,” Miksch said, “if people were paid more.”
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.